Personal Injury Crimes
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Crimes against a person are considered some of the most serious crimes you can be charged with. The phrase “crimes against a person” is broad and encompasses a wide array of crimes and degrees of crime. When most people consider these types of crimes, they think of some type of assault. While assault is one of the most common types of crimes against a person, there are many others including harassment, disorderly conduct, threats, and robbery. Whether you have been charged with harassment or aggravated assault you need a Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney on your side.
Your Case, Your Life—It Matters to Us
At Dusharm Law, we will be with you every step of the way. We understand your reputation and life are at stake. We have spent over 15 years defending individuals charged with crimes against a person, including all types of assault charges. Let us help you.
There are two main types of assault charges: simple and aggravated assault. However, there are varying degrees of each. The type and degree you are charged with determines the potential sentence you will face.
Simple assault is causing or attempting to intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly cause bodily injury to another person. A simple assault charge in PA is generally a second-degree misdemeanor, which carries the potential for a fine and up to two years in prison.
Aggravated Assault Pennsylvania Law
Under Pennsylvania law 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Section 2702(a)(1), aggravated assault is when a person attempts to cause serious bodily injury to another, or causes such injury intentionally, knowingly or recklessly under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life. One of the main differences between simple assault and aggravated assault is aggravated assault involves attempting to do serious bodily injury. A serious bodily injury is one that causes disfigurement, impairment, permanent loss, or the risk of death. Aggravated assault is generally either a second-degree or first-degree felony offense. A second-degree conviction can carry a sentence of up to 10 years in prison. A first-degree conviction carries a sentence of up to 20 years. Any type of assault conviction can have severe consequences. Being charged with assault is a serious matter and should not be taken lightly. No matter the degree of assault you have been charged with, you could face jail time, sizable fines, probation, and a tarnished criminal record. Let Dusharm Law defend you. +
Harassment Charges in PA
Under Pennsylvania law 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Section 2709 a person commits the crime of harassment when, with intent to harass, annoy, or alarm another, the person:
Strikes, shoves, kicks, or otherwise subjects the other person to physical contact or attempts or threatens to do so;
Follows the other person in a public place;
Engages in actions that serve no legitimate purpose;
Communicates to or about the other person using lewd, lascivious, threatening, or obscene words, language, drawings, or caricatures;
Communicates repeatedly in an anonymous manner;
Communicates repeatedly at extremely inconvenient hours; or
Communicates repeatedly in another manner.
Examples of acts that could support harassment charges in PA include:
Sending lewd text messages,
Repeatedly contacting an individual,
Following a person in public places, and
Striking, shoving, or kicking another person.
All these usually involve a person engaging in a pattern of behavior that causes the alleged victim to feel in danger. Harassment charges also include cyber harassment of a child or stalking. The penalties for a harassment conviction will vary depending on the severity of the crime. A summary harassment offense—i.e. a low level harassment charge—can still carry a potential for up to 90 days in jail and a $300 fine. A third-degree misdemeanor conviction increases those penalties to up to 1 year in jail and a $2,000 fine.
What Is Robbery?
Generally, robbery is the theft of another person’s property through the threat of, or use of force.
Under Pennsylvania law, a person is guilty of robbery if, among other things, in the course of committing a theft, they:
Inflict serious bodily injury,
Threaten another with, or intentionally put them in fear of immediate serious bodily injury,
Physically takes or removes property from a person by force.
Depending on the specific circumstances, a robbery charge can be a first-, second-, or third-degree offense. Any of these is considered a felony with jail time. You could face years of imprisonment, parole, and probation. Robbery is considered a serious violent crime, and any charge should be handled by an experienced attorney to provide the best possible defense.
Terroristic Threats in PA
The crime of making a terroristic threat in PA is very serious. Even the lowest degree of the crime carries a potential prison term of 5 years. Simply, a terroristic threat is a threat of a violent act against another person intended to terrorize them.
Under Pennsylvania law 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Section. 2706, a person commits the crime of terroristic threats if the person communicates, either directly or indirectly, a threat to:
Commit any crime of violence with intent to terrorize another;
Cause evacuation of a building, place of assembly, or public transportation facility; or
Otherwise cause terror or serious public inconvenience with reckless disregard of the risk of causing such terror or inconvenience.
Although the elements of the crime may be broad, with the right defense attorney, the prosecutor may have difficulty proving you committed the crime. This is because speech, in and of itself, is subjective. Having said the words alone is not enough to be convicted. The prosecutor must prove you intended to terrorize, harm, intimidate or disrupt the government.
Scenarios that may amount to a terroristic threat include:
Causing the evacuation of a building or facility,
Causing a serious public inconvenience, and
Committing a crime of violence with the intention of terrorizing another human being.
All these can have serious consequences.
A Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney will first determine whether you are facing a first-degree misdemeanor or third-degree felony charge. Often, if you made a threat to one person, the offense will be considered a misdemeanor. However, if the threat caused a group of people to feel terrorized or harmed, you are probably facing a felony.
Defenses to a Terrorist Threat Charge
How to beat a criminal threat charge will depend on the facts and circumstances specific to the case. This is why meeting with a Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney is so important. They will be able to assess the specifics of your case and any potential defenses you may have.
Examples of defenses include:
Statement was made in fun or joking manner;
Proving there was no intent;
Proving the statement was not made to the alleged victim; and
Speech is protected by the First Amendment.
Depending on the circumstances, one of these defenses may apply to you.
If you have been accused of making a terroristic threat, do not wait to hire an attorney. It is imperative you get an experienced Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney on your side immediately. Whether a statement is considered a terroristic threat is often viewed in the eyes of the alleged victim. Which means it can often come down to a “he said, she said” argument. Dusharm Law can help.
Under Pennsylvania law, a person is guilty of disorderly conduct if they engage in an unlawful manner with the intent to cause public inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm. Even though disorderly conduct in PA is typically a summary offense, you can still face up to 90 days in jail and a $300 fine.
Defenses to a Crimes Against a Person Charge
Many of these crimes are specific intent crimes. Meaning a person must act with the intent to carry out the crime. A defense of lack of intent may be an option for you. You may also have a justification defense such as self-defense or defense of another (e.g., your child or spouse).
Other defenses include:
Defense of property,
Mental insanity or incapacity.
Possible defenses directly depend on what type of crime you have been charged with and the particular facts and circumstances surrounding the case. A Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney will be able to assess your case and identify the best defenses for your situation.
Dusharm Law: We Will Be with You Every Step of the Way
If you have been charged with a crime against a person, we are here for you. We have over 15 years of experience defending people accused of committing all types of crimes. Let us put that experience to work for you. Sometimes the prosecutor’s case is not as strong as it first seems. Our Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney will review your case in great detail to prepare the best possible defense. At Dusharm Law, we understand your freedoms are at stake, and we will work tirelessly to defend them every step of the way. Call or contact us online today to learn more about how we can help you.